The evil Batman are coming to DC's METAL event, revealing that when you cross Bruce Wayne with The Flash, you get BATMAN: THE RED DEATH. Now that DC Comics has officially revealed the first cover art for the hero-turned-supervillain, fans can feast their eyes one one of several one-shot comics focused on a 'nightmare' version of Batman from DC's Dark Multiverse. All things considered, RED DEATH proves that villainous figures charged with Speed Force energy can get a lot more unsettling than the Reverse-Flash.
For those unfamiliar, RED DEATH is just one of the surprises that Scott Snyder and his team of creators have in store for the Summer of 2017, as the long-awaited Dark Nights: METAL event smashes into the DC Universe. On a broad level, the series is focused on the METAL mystery running through DC history... but along the way, Batman's accidental opening of the Dark Multiverse is looking to amplify the fun. Starting with this Speed Force-fueled, villainous version of the Dark Knight from the dark, corrupted reflection of DC's Multiverse.
The first official artwork for the many evil Batmen (each a look at who Batman could have become had he taken a darker path, apparently combining himself with the powers or origins of another Justice League hero, mythology, or villain) was released during San Diego Comic-Con, along with an explanation of what fans could expect. Prior to that reveal, we knew that BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1 would arrive on September 20th by current Flash writer Joshua Williamson and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico.
Now, we know that Scott Snyder's larger METAL storyline opened the door for these dark reflections... but it was the current writers of each title that chose to tell the stories themselves. And with the artwork by Jason Fabok and Dean White unveiled, it's not hard to see why. Take a look for yourself:
It's a little complicated to explain DC's Dark Multiverse and the METAL mystery, but Scott Snyder cut to the chase when it comes to these seven one-shot stories, each depicting the origins of one kind of extreme, villainous nightmare Bruce Wayne might have become. And no, fans shouldn't dismiss RED DEATH or any of the other dark doppelgangers as 'what if's or 'Elseworlds' explorations. These villains are coming to the DC Universe, and according to Snyder, each one gets an unforgettable story all their own (hopefully) taking on their matching members of the surviving Justice League:
"I promise you these books are killer, killer good... We've had so much fun playing with the Dark Knights stuff, and the crossovers. I wanted to call it 'Steel Cave Match' and I got overruled. There are literally evil Batcaves each designed to 'off' one of these characters. There's all kinds of Batmobiles. Wait 'til you see-- I'm totally spoiling it, but it's crazy, crazy fun. The origins of these characters, too, are really, really special. They're a lot of the nightmares I thought about, like 'What if Batman goes too far?' in different ways."
"What if he took this one turn as a kid and wanted to bring his parents back in a way that would take him into the dark? What if after Superman died, Batman started experimenting with the Doomsday virus in a way that would prevent this from ever happening again, but he goes too far?... Why Bruce might use the Speed Force to try and be faster should a catastrophe have happened. Why he might go up against Ares."
The injection of Batman into the Speed Force mythology is a particularly potent combination, since Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne both shared a childhood trauma that set them on the path to a life fighting evil. In the past, that has led to common ground between the two - each knowing that changing the past is dangerous, since everybody has a day they wish they could take back (or a murder). Seeing how Bruce falls from that conviction, and how Barry may fall when standing against him... well, that's a story we're intrigued by. Even without the skulls covering the issue's cover page (a newer, more devastating twist on Barry's original 'death'?).
We'll have to wait to see how Williamson, Snyder, and the rest of DC's creative team make Batman break bad in various ways, but fans can keep their eyes peeled for more cover reveals in the coming weeks. The release of the comics themselves comes after Dark Days: METAL begins on August 16th, with the full schedule listed below:
- BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1 by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (September 20th)
- BATMAN: THE MURDER MACHINE #1 by writer Frank Tieri and artist Ricardo Federici (September 27th)
- BATMAN: THE DAWNBREAKER #1 by writer Sam Humphries and artist Ethan Van Sciver (October 4th)
- BATMAN: THE DROWNED #1 by writer Dan Abnett and artist Philip Tan (October 18th)
- BATMAN: THE MERCILESS #1 by writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Francis Manapul (October 25th)
- BATMAN: THE DEVASTATOR #1 (on sale November 1)
- THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #1 (on sale November 15).
Source: DC Comics